Industry Insights

7 Steps to Designing a Survey Project



Surveys are essential for any research project because they help collect data on your target audience, enabling you to make critical business decisions with a more informed perspective. Creating surveys via survey design software can be seamless if you know what information you’re trying to gather and who you’ll need to interview. Here are seven steps you can follow when designing your next survey project:

Determine your Survey Design objectives

Before you even begin writing your survey questionnaire, it’s important to clarify your objectives. What information are you trying to gather, and what problem at your business are you trying to solve? What will you do with the data, how will you interpret it, and how will you present it? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you focus on the right questions to ask your participants and eliminate the possibility of designing a survey that doesn’t accomplish what you need to answer for your business. 

Identify your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is the first step in designing a survey project. The purpose of a survey is to gather information from specific individuals, so it’s essential to know who those individuals are before you start. Demographics (race/ethnicity, region, gender, etc.), psychographics (views on personal finance, opinions on politics, etc.), and attitudes/behaviors (purchase behavior, product use behavior, etc.) will help you determine your target audience. Once you’ve identified your target audience and what questions you need to ask them, you can move on to selecting the proper design and build for your project.

Select the right survey design type for your project

One of the first steps in creating a survey is deciding its purpose. What is your goal? Do you want to conduct a marketing survey to see where your business sits among your competitors, or do you want to learn more about customer satisfaction when using your product or service? How many questions do you need? A quick survey may be all you need, but if there are any questions or complex fielding/data processing requirements within your project, consider using an online survey platform that allows for customization and flexibility. The InnovateMR research team can take the heavy lifting out of selecting a survey design software, programming and hosting your survey, fielding, and data processing. We also provide a 24/7 support team that will be there every step of the way. 

Utilize Survey Design Software

There are various ways to collect data and get your survey in front of potential respondents. It’s essential to make sure your survey is always easy to read and understand, and clarity in your questionnaire will ensure participants correctly interpret your question and can answer it understandingly, making your data trustworthy and reliable. 

Doing this alone can take a lot of leg work, so you may want to employ survey design software with an expert like InnovateMR. Survey design software can provide a survey builder (instead of coding from scratch) to help you create, launch, and analyze your survey, allowing you more time to implement decisions based on your gathered insights. 

Keep things short and sweet for high-quality completes

When designing your survey project, it is crucial to consider survey length. Survey burn-out can threaten the integrity of your data, and with a world full of distractions, the goal is to keep your participants engaged until the end. Consumers’ attention spans today are short, so you’ll want your questions to be to the point. 

Write straightforward and concise questions that aren’t leading

The types of questions you use in your survey are important. A good mix of question types provides the opportunity to get sufficient data to answer your survey needs. Simple language is a must unless it’s a survey for a niche audience that requires jargon and technical terms. 

Be wary of asking leading questions and be aware of biases when designing your survey. Of course, we all want positive reviews, but we also want participants to be honest. In the end, it will make your business stronger. For example, instead of saying, “Please select your favorite item from our breakfast selections,” you can say, “How would you rate our breakfast selections?” This wording change opens the door for more honest feedback. 

Use open and close-ended questions wisely. Open-ended questions allow participants to give thoughtful, insightful answers, empower them beyond pre-populated answers in their responses, provide critical qualitative data and give color to other data sets that can drive business decisions. Paired with close-ended questions, you create a larger and more complete picture of the business answers you are trying to find in your research. 

Quality-check your survey

Before you launch your survey, give it a thorough read-through and test all functionality in your survey design software. Next, preview your survey on different devices and browsers to see how it will format for participants. Next, proofread your questions, ensure you’ve included everything you need, and get opinions on whether questions could use revision to keep answers unbiased. Finally, test the order and flow of the questions, and revise with your survey partner if necessary. 


Now that you have seven steps to designing a survey for your research, do you think you could design one independently? If you are still intimidated by designing your survey project, our dedicated service team can do it or work through the process with you. 

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About InnovateMR – InnovateMR is a full-service sampling and ResTech company that delivers faster, quality insights from business and consumer audiences utilizing cutting-edge technologies to support agile research. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR provides world-class end-to-end survey programming, targeted international sampling, qualitative and quantitative insights, and customized consultation services to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. Known for their celebrated status in customer service and results, InnovateMR combines boutique-level service with extensive global reach to achieve partner success.